If this year has taught us anything, it is that diseases, viruses, and germs are everywhere. You can’t stop each and every germ from reaching your body, no matter how much you limit your contact with others and wash your hands. Is being careful, clean, and sanitary important? Absolutely! Is keeping your body as healthy as possible critical to being able to fight off the viruses that come your way? Yes! This means giving your body the tools it needs to have a strong immune system. Your immune system is critical to your overall health. It is fundamental to healing wounds, warding off infections, and protecting against both chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
So, how do you do it? If you follow these five pieces of expert advice, you’ll be giving your body’s immune system what it needs to keep you as healthy as possible:
#1 Sleep First things first- in order to feel your best and fight off any viruses or germs that come your way, you need to be getting eight hours of sleep a night. Yes, this means every night! Missing your sleep just one night does damage to your body, including your immune system. Evidence indicates that in both the short- and long-term, sleep deprivation can make you sick. Researchers have found that during nightly sleep, certain components of the immune system get to work. For example, when someone is ill or injured, an inflammatory response may help with recovery, fortifying innate and adaptive immunity as the body works to repair wounds or fight off an infection. Also, during sleep, your breathing and muscle activity slows down. This frees up energy for the immune system to perform these critical tasks.
#2 Healthy diet Your body needs certain nutrients to give your immune system a fighting chance against those foreign invaders. This means eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables. This gives you the nutrients you need as well as helps you maintain a healthy weight. Even within the range of “healthy foods” some are known to be better for boosting your immune system than others. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, so be sure to include grapefruits and oranges into your meals. Broccoli, red bell peppers, garlic, ginger, and spinach are all both delicious and good immunity boosters. Try to eat a wide variety of foods and aim to eat fruit and vegetables from every color of the rainbow!
#3 Water Do you need to drink some special smoothie to give your immune system a boost? No! Your body does its job best by drinking what nature gave us, water! Water helps to carry oxygen to your body cells, which results in many properly functioning systems, including the immune system. It also works in removing toxins from the body. This means drinking more of it could help prevent toxins from building up and having a negative impact on your immune system.
#4 Exercise Regular exercise is one of the three pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps keep your body weight within a healthy range, and protects against a variety of chronic diseases. It also helps to boost your immune system naturally and keep you all around healthy. Just like a healthy diet, daily exercise contributes to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It contributes even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job more efficiently. If you get tired of “boring” water, add some lemon to it and you’ll be adding even more Vitamin C!
#5 Vitamins Don’t stress that you didn’t get your full recommended daily serving suggestion of Vitamin C in a day. You can always add additional vitamins and supplements to give your body what you didn’t quite get in your food. Beyond Vitamin C, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E too. Taking a daily multivitamin doesn’t replace the need for a healthy diet, but it does supplement areas you may be lacking.
Why wait until January first to resolve to live a healthier life? Make today the day you begin a new focus on living a healthy lifestyle. Maybe you need to take a trip to the grocery store to stock up on the foods your body is craving. Perhaps you need a new luxury mattress and pillows that will allow yourself to sleep more deeply. It could be as simple as setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier so you have time for yoga every morning. Whatever you need to do to boost your immune system, start it right away!